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Garrison Commander Col. Glenn Mellor and Lt. Col. Fran Boudreau, from Fox Army Health Center, addressed the COVID-19 vaccine during a recent town hall.

They said receiving the vaccination is voluntary and urged people to make a thoughtful and informed decision about whether they should get the vaccine.

“Is all the data in? No,” Boudreau said. “But, from what we can see, what’s the risk of getting COVID and having a significantly poor outcome versus what’s the risk of taking the vaccine and having a significantly poor outcome?

“This is something that each individual has to balance. That’s why it’s voluntary. Personally, I received my shot two weeks ago and I’ve encouraged it to all my family.”

Mellor, who has yet to receive a vaccine, said when it was his time to take it he would.

“I absolutely will be taking that advice as well and giving the same to my family,” Mellor said.

Fox Army Health Center posted the following to their Facebook page:

Fox is now offering the COVID-19 vaccine to personnel that meet the criteria for Phase 1B in accordance with the modified DOD population schema. This includes:

• National critical capabilities

• Personnel deploying outside of the United States, or preparing to deploy within the next 90 days

• Tricare beneficiaries age 75 and older

• Front line essential workers

These personnel may schedule their vaccine through the Patient Centered Resource System at www.redstone.amedd.army.mil/PCRS/login. Once registered, you may select the COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Signup button that will guide you through the appointment scheduling process. You will also receive a reminder text message on the day of your appointment.

Note that the system will not allow patients to make a same day appointment, so make appropriate future arrangements.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://tricare.mil/Health

Wellness/HealthyLiving/Coronavirus/COVID-vaccine?fbclid=IwAR3HZ9JDpage0PfDt-hlAsfSiLhoUcFe3zwEf8V3PmAjrZOOvy9yblqwim4.

On Jan. 25, the Birmingham VA Health Care System expanded its COVID-19 clinic after partnering with the United Way.

The new clinic will be located at the United Way building, 3600 8th Ave. South, Birmingham, and will administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for veterans 65 and older by appointment only and subject to available supply.

Veterans 65 and older can call 866-487-4243 to schedule an appointment or their local CBOC.

While there are still a number of unanswered questions surrounding the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines, Military Health System has compiled a few frequently asked questions. Below are the answers to a few of them. For more specific information, people are being encouraged to reach out to Fox Army Health Center or their primary care provider.

What is an Emergency Use Authorization?

A: Drugs and vaccines have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that only safe and effective products are available to the American public. During public health emergencies, when there is good scientific reason to believe that a product is safe and is likely to treat or prevent disease, the FDA may authorize its use through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), even if definitive proof of the effectiveness of the drug or vaccine is not known. FDA pre-licensure approval is considered for treatment or prevention of diseases that are very serious.

How will I be able to keep track of what vaccine I got and when I need to get a second dose?

A: All vaccine recipients will be provided a copy of the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card after receipt of the vaccine. It is recommended that the second-dose appointment be made at the time of initial vaccinations, or instructions provided on procedures for second dose follow-up. If a vaccine recipient has a smartphone, it is recommended that they take a photo of the vaccination record card as a back-up copy and set a calendar reminder for receipt of the second dose.

If I’ve already recovered from COVID-19 infection, do I need to be vaccinated?

A: Because the duration of immunity from natural infection with COVID-19 is unknown, vaccine may have value in protecting people who have already had the disease. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Talk with your provider if you have been previously infected with COVID-19.

If I get vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask and practice social distancing?

A: Masks and physical distancing will still be necessary until a large proportion of the population is vaccinated and the vaccine is proven to provide long-term protection. Global and national public health authorities are expected to continue to recommend wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, for everyone, until pandemic risk of COVID-19 is substantially reduced.

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